When I was pregnant with my first, I spent most of my time on the baby registry, typing the birth plan, and picking colors for the nursery. I also spent a little bit of time thinking about what kind of mother I’d be. I read a book or two, signed up on Babycenter and, against the warnings not to, listened attentively to any and everyone offering advice. Even though so many moms told me I’d be annoyed by unsolicited, even well-meaning wisdom, I actually welcomed it. And contrary to my typical self-critical nature, I’m pretty proud of myself for trusting my gut, and listening when someone volunteered a well-meaning pearl. Because, as it turns out, I’ve learned more so far from the moms I know, and even the moms I don’t know, than from any parenting website or book authored by experts. What I’ve learned, I’ve learned from the following 5 types of mom:
1. the Mommy
This is the mom who was born to be a mom, whose qualifications for motherhood far exceed the basic biological ones. She carries her pregnancies gracefully from morning sickness to the 4th trimester and never looks fat or unpolished. She can discipline her children in public without raising her voice or getting stares. She always gets amazing deals on her baby gear and children’s clothing and consigns like a pro. She’s the room mom, the mom who can function on an hour of sleep, and the mom we all secretly kinda want to be. And she could be at home with her kids 24/7 and not go nuts. This mom teaches me grace under fire, something I so don’t naturally possess.
2. the Working Mom
This is the mom I tried to be for a while. She races through her days on coffee and adrenaline, and crashes halfway through her guilty pleasure tv at 9pm. She gets it all done, but still feels guilty. She doesn’t know how other moms do it. Her to-do lists have baby to-do lists. If she had a quiet moment, she’d fill it with a task. Well, first she’d die of shock. This mom knows she’s a great mother, but has to be reminded. She can run a web company all day then leave it sitting on her desk like the dish from her packed lunch to go home and be with her daughter. This mom reminds me that you can be an amazing mother and kick ass at work.
3. the Boy Mom
The boy mom is unsure what to do when she learns at her 20-week ultrasound that her first baby will be a boy. For some reason she envisioned ballet slippers, and ribbons for every be-ruffled little outfit, and someone to beg to wear the wedding gown she had preserved that will become the least-fashionable garment ever made by the time her daughter gets married. But when she meets that little boy, the Boy Mom would be happy enough to twirl if she had 14 more boys and not a single girl, except that twirling will quickly leave her repertoire now that she’s a mom of boys. She’ll embrace the world of cleats and mud and Neosporin and girls that will never be good enough [hisssss]. And her skin will get thicker as their skin does. This mom teaches me strength. And for the girl moms, I didn’t forget about you. I see the love you have for your precious daughter, and I promise you I’ll raise boys that would cherish and respect her.
4. the Oh-boy Mom
This mom gets a little carried away sometimes, bless her heart. She doesn’t know it, and she probably doesn’t even know that we know it. She’ll be the one who brags that her 12 month old knows all the letters of the alphabet and insist that you order the Leapfrog DVD’s she’s been using, lest your giggling, drooling 2 year old get “left behind,” as if you asked her. Okay, yes, I may be a little bitter toward this mom, but still she teaches me, if accidentally, to let my child be a child and to let him be who he is, not who I, or anyone else, need him to be.
5. the Ultimate Mom
This mom is the lost earring that turns up on the playground 6 months later, when you thought it was gone for good. She’s the last slice of cake in the break room after your boss yells at you. She’s our savior, our heart, the one who gives us the courage and strength to go on when we’re down to the last ounce of hope in us, and she is that hope. She’s a warrior who’s seen more battle than you may ever see. She’s the mom who went through 36 hours of labor before her c-section, making my paltry 20 look like a pelvic exam. She’s the mom who crumpled into a heap on the floor when she thought all was lost, but then rose like a phoenix from a pile of ashes. She’s Tripp Halstead’s mom, she’s my friend Holly, one of the strongest moms I know. She’s my Mom. And that mom taught me how to be brave, how to get up after being knocked down and, sometimes, how to just get up in the morning.
To all of these moms, especially mine, I’m so grateful you shared your wisdom with me. You make me a better mom every day.
Which mom are you?
[I dedicate this post to my Mom, the Ultimate. Thanks for all you do. I love you!]